The Present Age: Progress and Anarchy in Modern America

Overview

"The Present Age, Robert Nisbet's analysis of the United States in the period after 1914, provides an original take on "the American century." This learned, elegantly written essay extends the analyses of Tocqueville and Bryce of the threats that bureaucracy, centralization, and creeping conformity post to liberty and individual independence in the Western world. Nisbet depicts the unprecedented "militarization" of American life in the decades after 1914 as a tragedy - the necessary resistance to National Socialist and Communist totalitarianism
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The Present Age: Progress and Anarchy in Modern America

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Overview

"The Present Age, Robert Nisbet's analysis of the United States in the period after 1914, provides an original take on "the American century." This learned, elegantly written essay extends the analyses of Tocqueville and Bryce of the threats that bureaucracy, centralization, and creeping conformity post to liberty and individual independence in the Western world. Nisbet depicts the unprecedented "militarization" of American life in the decades after 1914 as a tragedy - the necessary resistance to National Socialist and Communist totalitarianism that fed into and reinforced the profound tendencies toward centralization in modern society." Nisbet criticizes Woodrow Wilson's moralistic and militaristic foreign policy and desire for "progressive" social democracy and social engineering at home. His critique of the American "itch to intervene," rooted in "pious universalism," is quite relevant to contemporary debates about humanitarian intervention. And his discussion of the "despotic" character of the modern state raises the question whether republican self-government can survive the relentless expansion of the state's concerns and responsibilities.

"Belongs on the same shelf as Allan Bloom and Paul Kennedy."--Wall Street Journal.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060159023
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/1988
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 192

Table of Contents

Foreword
I The Prevalence of War 1
II The New Absolutism 41
III The Loose Individual 87
Epilogue 137
Index 141
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